Tutor Doctor | Feb 1, 2013

How to Deal with Bad Report Cards

Categories: K-12, K12

Every student has a bad report card at least once in their academic careers. As the mid-term exams approach, dealing effectively with a bad report card is a great way to ensure a better grade in the final exams. Being pragmatic and practical is a better approach to bad report cards so that you and your student can move to a more positive and effective study methodology.

Get the whole picture
It’s important to understand the whole picture before working on a strategy that will improve grades in the future. Ask your student to explain what circumstances led to their drop in grades. Social or emotional factors that you may not be aware of can have a huge impact on your student’s performance. If they are not willing to communicate, try a more congenial tone and ask questions that are more specific. For example; if your student’s only response is “I don’t know,” ensure that you are not angry or emotional. If you are, take a break and revisit the subject when you feel more relaxed. Instead of asking; “Why is your math grade so low?” ask more direct questions like; “What parts of the curriculum did you not understand?”

Once you have established what the underlying causes are of the lower grades, ask your student what they think can be done to remedy the situation. Really listening to them and involving them in all aspects and decisions will make them feel part of the process and is more likely to meet with cooperation than solutions that are imposed.

Talk to your teachers
Ask the teacher about your student’s performance if your student is earning below a ‘B’. Ask if they have turned in their assignment on time, if there are social issues you need to be aware of and whether your student has been applying themselves in class. Your teachers are there to help and they often have insights that could be vital to your student’s development. Ask your teacher to identify the root of the problem and suggest possible solutions. Together you, your student and the teacher can discuss strategies for improving grades.

Get an in-home tutor
If your student is struggling in a specific subject, it may be time to get a tutor. In-home tutors offer one-on-one tutoring that really helps to improve grades. Knowledge is a structure and if your student is missing some of the basic building blocks, no amount of studying will improve their understanding. A tutor can go back and find the gaps in their knowledge and fill them in. Working in-home also gives your student the confidence they need to succeed.
Set realistic expectations for your student’s grades and don’t put them under so much stress that they experience anxiety or neglect their social lives. Try to strike a balance between studies and social development. Talk to your students and really listen to what they have to say. Remember that students are growing and developing and they are bound to perform differently as they have their ups and downs; stay positive and supportive.